The full title of this work is as follows: The Mystic Rose: A Study of Primitive Marriage and of Primitive Thought in its Bearing on Marriage. Quoted from the author's first chapter, p. 2.
"In the following pages we have followed the principle that marriage, both in ceremony and in system, is grounded in primitive conceptions of sexual relations. Many collateral phenomena will be discussed, which illustrate and are themselves explained by these conceptions, and though the lines of the argument lead from human relations through sexual relations to meet in marriage, yet by the way they will touch upon the connection of morality and religion with the social life of mankind."
"At the outset it may be well to bring forward a few striking facts of custom, as types of the problems to be solved, and as a help towards clearness. Such are the following, which may be put, after the fashion of Plutarch, as questions:
(I) Why, according to a very general custom, are husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, required to avoid each other in one or more ways, and why, in particular, may they not eat together?
(2) Why do betrothed persons also, as is frequently the case, avoid each other with religious caution?
(3) Why, again, do men and women, generally, practice the same religious caution of each other?
(4) Why, according to a common custom, is it necessary for the bridegroom to take his bride by violence? ("Marriage by capture.")
(5) Why are the bride and bridegroom in, for instance, Bengal, first married to two trees?
(6) Why did the bride in ancient Argos wear a beard in the bridal chamber, and why in Kos was the bridegroom arrayed in women's clothes when he received his bride?
(7) Why, according to a widely spread custom, which, like the next, has excited the laughter of mankind, should a man and his mother-in-law religiously avoid each other to the extent of hiding the face and of being "ashamed"?
(8) Why, as is the practice in several parts of the world, and as was reported of the Tibarenoi by Greek writers, and of the King of Torelore by the jogleor who wrote Cest daucassin et de nicolete," does the husband lie-in and pretend to be a mother when his wife is confined?